Friday, February 22, 2013

Kiln on and seeds waking up

Here's one of my charity shop finds from the past few days. It's even on rollers - not bad for ten dollars! It will slide right under my slab roller and provide some extra, much needed storage space.

Before breakfast, I finished organizing this years seeds, and then got the kiln started. It's only a half load of slip and glaze tests and some test re-fires. Hopefully I'll get what I'm looking for and then I can get on with making more pots, batching another slip or two and a couple of glazes.

Yesterday was for garden chores - shopping for mushroom compost, potato seeds, and some bean inoculant for the Fava beans I want to plant this weekend and a few other goodies.  Lunch out and starting seeds pretty well rounded out the day.

I had to start more seeds than I thought, because an order for some mail order tomato plants fell through. Evidently they can't ship tomato plants to Oregon. Who knew! And these are tomato varieties that I usually start from seed because some of those varieties are not available locally. Now I'm going to have to figure out what to do with them when they sprout and have to be divided, and transplanted. I don't have a basement any more, and I gave away the light fixtures, so I'm probably going to be putting them in my office or guest room, and get at least one new fluorescent fixture and some proper grow lights.

If weather permits, this afternoon I need to get some of the squares in the raised beds cleaned out and fertilized. This morning I figured out, with the help of on line converters, just how much of my organic fertilizer has to be used on each square of these raised beds which are just up with one foot square grids. It's taken a lot of pre-planning for this square foot/companion planting, but will save a lot of time during the growing season.

Meantime, my partly loaded kiln is firing. It's set for a slow bisque with a ten minute end soak. After reading about Ron Philbeck's ruined load of beautiful pots because of an easy error for any one of us to  make, of setting the soak to ten hours instead of 10 minutes, I paid special attention to that this morning.  You really have to pay attention to the digital demons!

Anyone who has been doing pottery for any length of time has at least one horror story. I have a couple! One was using what I thought was a leftover brick from my wood kiln construction, for a post. Turns out it was a low fired brick which did not look like one. It melted, and seeped right into one of my burners on my Geil, gas kiln. Fortunately there were two other good posts and a couple of taller pots which that bottom shelf could rest on, otherwise it would have been an even worse mess and greater loss. The other was the time I lit the kiln and soon realized something was amiss. They smell and smoke gave that problem away. I had some thick strips of plastic type material covering the burner ports to keep out the mice after one made a nest in one one time, and I forgot to remove them before loading the kiln. All the pots were covered with carbon. Fortunately, once I let it cool, removed the port covers and started the kiln again, the firing went well. Whew!

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